THIS IS NOT THE END THIS IS NOT THE END THIS IS NOT THE END THIS IS NOT THE END THIS IS NOT THE END THIS IS NOT TH
THIS IS NOT THE EN
THIS I 2
D EDITOR’S LETTER D D" D D HE END
This is the most important issue we’ve done, for many reasons. It’s the longest issue we have put out since Issue 002 yet it feels the most incomplete. The previous issue came out in December of 2015. I am writing this is September of 2016 (and editing in December). Yeah, there’s a bit of a gap. During that time we hosted our biggest event, our birthday party, and a big birthday issue was in the works. A lot of different factors stopped that issue from coming out – school and not having time for self-care being the main reasons. So, instead, we planned to do our unofficial final issue: Issue 007. It’s been about six or seven months since we started working on it, and in that time I’ve met more people and seen more amazing events come out of the local art scene. So this issue will always feel incomplete to me; Boston is always changing and our print issues aren’t keeping up with the amount of growth I see on a daily basis. This is in no way the end of Things Magazine though. I stopped viewing Things singularly as a publication a long time ago. After our first meetup in the Public Garden, I truly felt as though we were an art community for local teens and young artists. Boston’s art scene is growing and so are we. Leaving our print issues behind (for now) is a necessary step in our growth. It’s the end of one era and
the beginning of another. This is no time for goodbyes, as we’re just getting started, but I want to reflect on how important the magazine has been to me as individual. I have met so many wonderful people through this platform. Many people that I now call friends were artists I met through the magazine. This created friendships based around similar interests and needs. When we read writer applications or ask why our followers engage with us it’s reaffirming to see people say that they learned about local artists, or feel like more of a part of the art scene, or just enjoy our content and how we show another side of Boston. In my first editor’s letter, I talked about making Boston a home for creatives. The city has become that. That isn’t to say we still don’t have work to do, but, in this year alone, I’ve seen so many great artists create and thrive here. I hope that Things transforms into more of a creative space for all the artists we've met (and haven't yet). I have so many dreams and plans for Things that the team and I constantly work on, so the end of print issues feels like the beginning of so much more. I hope you’ll stick around and help us grown. Please enjoy Issue 007.
Sienna Kwami Editor-in-Chief
IS NOT THE END
TABLE OF CONTENTS FASHION
p.6 / Narural Construction p.14 / Rodrick Guevara p.24 / Quasi Culture Club p.28 / The Night Shift p.36 / Isabel Sicat p.42 / The Explosion of a Midnight Star p. 54 / Lurk Wear
ART p.60 p.66 p.70 p.74 p.78 p.80 p.84 p.88
/ / / / / / / /
Gabi Barroso Eva Westphal Lauren Oâ€™Neil Mithsuca Berry Ruthie Block Tyler Kpakpo Ishrat Qureshi Jan Simonds
MUSIC & CULTURE p.88 / Puppy Problems
Adam Ward Carina Allen Eva Westphal Gabi Barroso Isabel Sicat Ishrat Qureshi Jan Simonds Josh Glass Lauren Oâ€™Neil Mithsuca Berry Rodrick Guevara Tyler Kpakpo
Sienna Kwami - Editor in Chief Madusa Sidibay - Creative Director Penny Mack - Associate Editor
photographed by carina allen modeled by elaine sun clothing by gina park
RODRICK GUEVARA Boston's young designer takes you an a spiratual journey that leads to understanding, inner peace, and beautful designs, fit for the modern queen.
photographed by sienna kwami modeled by ishrat qureshi clothing by rodrick guevara
The first thing you'll notice about Rodrick Guevara is his sunny aura and his bold way of dressing. His positive mindset is as impressive as his ability to sew a velvet pencil skirt just hours before my shoot with him. Some with the qualities is just short of being a fairytale character, but Rodrick is very real and his designs are more magical than fairytales themselves. Sienna Kwami: How would you describe yourself? Rodrick Guevara: I would describe myself as an mystical devious brat, no I'm just kidding... I'm passionate, generous and an open mind individual who uses many artistic forms to show gratitude and to worship myself also help others understand different experiences. SK: How would you describe the art form you do? RG: I branch off of many forms of art, whether it's drawing, sewing, or even talking; sharing my deepest thoughts. My designs represent an experience I either encountered or currently going through it's used to represent my moods and feelings and its job is to uplift and bring out this inner you that is hidden; when I put a very shy model in my pieces their insecurities vanish when they walk they become a bolder being BUT it depends on how I felt during my creative process. SK: When did it all start for you? RG: You could say I had many epiphanies, but when I knew i wanted to design clothes, it was for me I was always unable to feel confident and being myself not only that but I identified as a child in the LGBT community and being feminine made people belittle my strengths as a boy and a human being. But it built me, I was always amazed with the feminine beauty; you could say I imagine myself as a girl, I say it's because that's what I was brought up with my family is populated
with strong women who loves strongly â€˜til the point it gets to them but is pushed me; to be honest I believe the women in my family had more balls than the men but I was in between so I'm âœ¨specialâœ¨ but when it came to my art I spiced the femininity and tried to blend it with masculinity especially in the clothes I wore, for example, I tend to wear fitted things but I give it a masculine edge where some people see it as girly but boyish at the same time I call it society manipulation it's something I use to either cause controversy or settle it. SK: What inspires you to create? RG: Music, color, positivity, negativity attention and uplifting people's spirits letting people know they need to find their worth that's inside them and work to discover who they are and who they're meant to be. In life, I learned everything truly happens for a reason whether you missed your train or was late to work those are signs of things look at your surroundings maybe you're meant to talk to someone or maybe something's telling you that job is not helping you spiritually. I thought about time a lot, I love to procrastinate a lot as well, but one thing I learned is that we give ourselves time and when we do that it hurts us because we work to a capacity and we strain ourselves. It kills us and we don't see it. My inspirations are my friends and their lifestyle, the best part (which seems like it's the worst) is when I come to realize their lives are drastically different from mine: either they have it harder or easier. It's a new experiences that helps you understand people's perspective of certain things, whether it's religions, beliefs or even creative process you learn were different and it helps your work in the long run. SK: What is the process of creating a new design? RG: My music I listen to and the moods that sad music brings sacred and elegant work where it's like I like to believe that the people we believe have it the easiest have it the worst (people with wealth)
They can trust easily sometimes and they give their all which it's not a bad thing but they get hurt a lot and sometimes they were given too much that they can't live without it and it kills them. That's one. My uptight music which is when the diva comes out and you can't tell her anything to knock her. But she's sweet loving and open but she has to hold off because her love is too strong just for anyone.
" Music, color, positivity, negativity attention and uplifting people's spirits "
QUASI CULTURE CLUB
Meet the young deigner selling his artwork on clothing. Interview by Penelope Macks Photos by Josh Glass
Growing up, what sort of influences did you have that sparked your interest in fashion and design? I have always been appreciative of fashion, but only recently (within the past year) have I become especially interested in fashion design. My mom was probably my first personal introduction to fashion. She has always been very conscious of what she wears and has influenced me with her attitude of wearing whatever you want and expressing yourself through that. I remember getting in trouble in elementary school on multiple occasions for being against dress code after she helped me style my hair into red liberty spikes. A much more current influence is my friends. Their styles range from pretty conventional and sporty to really pushing convention with multi-colored eye-shadow and distressed denim coveralls and sequined sneakers or something. Overall the main takeaway from this for me is to put whatever you want into your fashion, regardless of current trend. Did you feel like, as an adolescent, you had enough opportunities to express yourself and create? If so what were they? Absolutely. My high school, the Cambridge School of Weston, had a really great art program. Classes for everything from Raku to experimental video. Having so much opportunity within school to be expressive through art made it really easy to develop my creativity in a natural way. I did a lot of my own stuff outside of school as well, mainly photography. I often carried a camera and would make portraits of my friends. If I was alone I would photograph architecture and strangers. I still do that a lot, photography helps me keep a fresh eye on my environment. How did you start Quasi Culture Club? When we were freshman at Ithaca College, my friend Zac Collopy and I started with the idea to hand alter a denim shirt, just for fun. Once we got attention from our friends asking to buy shirts we realized we could turn it into a much larger project. We each designed individually and sold our pieces through an Etsy shop under the name Upstate Apparel. As we established a stronger
brand identity, we ended up feeling removed from that name. After some brainstorming we came up with Quasi Culture Club and announced the new name with a dedicated website: QuasiCultureClub.com. The name comes from the idea of being an onlooker and observer of culture, defined as the manifestation of human intellect. It’s about interpreting what is seen in our society and putting something back into it. What were the challenges in starting your own label at a young age? Have you faced ageism in your career? The main challenge was probably just our lack of experience. Zac and I created most of Quasi Culture Club on instinct without much background in entrepreneurship. We reached out to professors and mentors at our school for guidance and got some helpful tips here and there, but mostly we just did our own thing. And QCC is still barely started, it’s just getting going so I’m sure there will be more challenges to come. Everyone I’ve personally talked to about QCC, of all ages, has been really respectful and supportive of the endeavor. So I can’t say I have experienced ageism as of yet. What's your process for designing a new item? I usually start with a concept or feeling that creates a visual in my mind. Then I translate that vision or elements of it into a sketch on paper as best I can. I like to write about the concept of the sketch as well so I can better understand the emotion that I am trying to convey. That sketch usually goes through a few drafts and I’ll end up taking pieces from each draft in the end. Then I’ll make a final sketch and identify a color palette. Usually I don’t decide to distress or singe a garment until I have finished the main design. Those are accents that come through with the development of the piece. What kind of problems do you see in the fashion industry (whitewashing, promoting a specific body type) and how do you plan to overcome or even fight them? One aspect of the fashion industry that bugs me is the strong separation between men’s and
women’s fashion. I get that traditionally speaking “women’s” clothing might be cut in a way that will fit a person with breasts, but this doesn’t mean it’s “man” or “woman”. I find it especially dangerous when something is labeled as men’s or women’s just because of the design. This just perpetuates stereotypes of the gender binary as well as excludes an entire group of people. People should feel comfortable wearing anything they want and not hesitate from a garment because it’s labeled a certain way. So many of my favorite personal pieces of clothing are labeled women’s and it’s just really unnecessary. I identify as a man, I look good in it, it fits me well, so why should it be called “women’s”? Everything I create is labeled as unisex and I plan to continue that regardless of the design or fit. If it is tailored for someone with breasts, this will be noted but it will not be labeled “women’s”. What advice would you have for young designers? As a young and rather inexperienced designer myself, some advice I can give is to get informed about your materials before your start working. At first I just used some random acrylic paint to later find out that when I hand washed the fabric it just crumbled away. I then went and did some real research about the best materials I could possibly use for working with fabric and everything is really solid now. This applies to everything in starting a business or creating something new. Being informed about what you’re doing before you just dive into it can save a lot of time and frustration. What's next for you? Any plans to return to Boston? My home is in Boston so I am always in and out of there. I’ll be in Panama during the fall of 2016 to study business and entrepreneurship in a developing village called Kalu Yala. In the spring I’ll be going back to college, but I’m transferring schools and I’m not sure where to yet. I plan on studying psychology and minoring in studio art. I definitely want to be getting out there more with QCC this summer. Creating more pieces and displaying them around the city. Getting the name out and producing is the big focus right now.
Night Shift Photographed by Adam Ward
Interviewed by Madusa Sidibay
How would you like to introduce yourself? Fun human, likes to make fun shit Where are you from originally, and how does that city inspire your work? I’m from Manila, the Philippines. I’ve made work that revolves around the silhouette of traditional Filipino garments, but more than anything I think that coming from such a vibrant culture consistently draws me to colors and fabrics which are just as energetic and rich. How would you describe exactly what you do? I draw, I dance, I snapchat -- I do a lot of dumb things. But I’m most interested in making clothing right now, which means I try to think of intriguing combinations of color or texture, or pull from some sort of concept, and construct wearable garments which are just as aesthetically and thematically pleasing. What's your connection to Boston? I go to school in Providence, which means I hit up Beantown for shows or hangs with homies every so often. How does Boston, if it does, inspire you? I think it’s cool to get a city perspective which is different from the one you live and work in, and I find that when I do venture out to Boston it’s always a much needed break from what I’m currently doing. I return to studio relaxed and happy and ready to make some werk. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been gotten? Just keep making work. Sometimes you’ll get frustrated because the ideas you’re conceiving of aren’t up to par with the work you’re making, but it takes time for your physical skills to catch up to your creative intuition. Everything will fall into place eventually -- just don’t be discouraged. The only way to get your work to be as good as you’re imagining it is to keep making it.
What attracted you to your art form? Just think it’s chill how you can create and wear something that’s reflective of your interests. I like how clothing is simultaneously a necessity and
an aesthetic indulgence. What's the best thing you've seen come out of the growing art scene in Boston? Maybe not fine art per se, but I’ve got some friends who make music and are from Boston -they’re in this band called Magic Man -- and they pump some really fun chunes! Do you have any upcoming projects? I’m still working on this side project where I digitally embroider these bedroom drawings of mine onto unisex velvet tops. What's the most challenging part of being an artist in Providence? It sounds stupid, but there’s a really limited collection of fabric stores in Providence. The distance to NYC and to more interesting textiles is far, and can sometimes be difficult to surmount. What has been the biggest moment in your career so far? It was cool to have some early tees of mine sold exclusively for Urban Outfitters, but I think that getting to intern with Alexander Wang was probably the most formative experience I’ve had, even though it didn’t necessarily mean creative exposure for me. I got to work with a small, incredibly talented, tight knit team and see how the high fashion machine really functions. It made me realise that this was something that I wanted to do for real. What was it like collaborating with Urban Outfitters? It was great! I made a handful of designs for a class, and they liked my work, picked it up for an exclusive, and I produced and wholesaled the garments to them. They’ve got an incredible headquarters in the refurbished Philly naval yard and a huge team who helped me, as a 19-yearold at the time, to get my work out to a wider audience. It was amazing to see something I’d created be desired and worn by people I didn’t know, but it was also really interesting to learn the business of production. Where do you want to go with your career after
you graduate from RISD? I just want to be able to keep making clothing! I’ll move to NYC eventually, but I plan on traveling, relaxing, and being a real human being first: bounce around the states and then head home to Manila, to my studio, where I can produce at a larger, commercial scale if need be. What advice do you have for people who want to go into fashion designing? Would you suggest RISD? Yeah, I would. I think that it’s really important that I go to school in Providence and not New York -I’m able to focus on my studio work without being distracted by all the fun shit, and it’s still enough of a city to be entertained by and interested in. RISD, as difficult and flawed as it is, is also an incredible school filled with the most talented human beings I’ve ever met. The apparel program is getting better each year and the work is phenomenal and inspiring. Besides fashion design, what else could you see yourself doing as a career? Things relating to the production and business of fashion? Anything, really, that keeps me in the creative realm. I don’t think I could ever do a proper desk job after seeing how fun this world is. Is there anything you’re really excited happening soon? I’m graduating from college! Lol Favorite designer? Demna Gvasalia, both at Vetements and Balenciaga
www.isabelsicat.com Photos by Isabel Sicat Modeled by Tim Coleman
Favorite movie? Slow West by John Maclean Current favorite song? Too Good by Drake Favorite food? Currently, Pad Thai. Favorite person? Whoever’s dancing next to me.
The Explosion of a Midnight Star modeled by fiona phie, ishrat qureshi, mithsuca berry photographed by sienna kwami
Meet the designer behind the label / Interview by Sienna Kwami / Photos by Matthew Welsh What is your name? Matt Welsh Age 18 Describe Lurk Wear in one sentence. Loving & Understanding Represents Knowledge Where are you based? Lumberton, NJ You started Lurk at 17, do you think your age has helped or hurt the growth of your brand? In today’s world, I feel like the more younger you are, the bigger the impact you can make. If someone under 18 is making moves that are bigger than mine, I want to be on their side and contribute to what they can bring to the community. I’m pretty sure that’s how everybody thinks. You know if I started Lurk Wear at age 35, no one would give a shit. It’s because I am not even out of high school yet and I’ve created something people like, that is why people are interested in my ideas and thoughts. So it’s for sure helped. What inspires a new collection? This is a tough one. I try to bring new things to the table every new collection I have. I am not at the point where I am designing for the following year ahead. I design what I am feeling that month, whether it be inspired by music, art, or people. It’s all basically an “in-the-moment” feeling. What's the process behind designing a new collection? First, I need alone time. For me, alone time gives the ability to really dig deep in my noggin and spit out ideas without any distraction.
What's the best experience you've had because of Lurk Wear? The best experience is just connecting with new faces. That’s how you really gain a reputation and build success. Meeting new people and working with them allows my knowledge of the business to grow & also gives them a new experience they might have never gotten if it wasn’t for me. That’s what I love. What's the 2016 collection based on? I’m releasing multiple collections this year. Each one having a different vibe. My favorite collection of clothing that I released this year so far was “Virgo”. The look book was better than the clothing in my opinion. That collection was just based on two colors, chamois (a shade of beige) and coral (orange and pink mixed). In the future, I want to design clothes that were popular in the 70’s and 80’s. That era was a gold mine for fashion. I’m excited for what is left for 2016. Keep an eye for denim pants & maybe women’s earrings….!AYHH What advice would you give to other young creatives? Keep making things on a regular basis. Put out as much to the public as possible when first starting out. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given? “When life hands you free nachos, you don’t question it” - Drake Parker What motto do you live by? Do.
@lurk_wear www.lurkwear.com 55
boston is going through an artistic renaissance, meet the people who are advancing the change. boston is going through an artistic 58
boston is going through an artistic renaissance, meet the people who are advancing the change. boston is going through an artistic 59
It’s really great to see a group of artists in Boston create something amazing. However, I think that the issues among the art community come down to how many people participate and sign up.
What name do you go by? Questionable Dog How old are you? 14 What part of the state or city are you from? Revere .
How would you describe what you do? What I basically do is write some songs and just create little projects for myself. What attracted you to your art form? I’ve always wanted to be famous for something when I was little, and my older sister was constantly singing around me. Those two things really pushed me to start thinking about creating my own music, and with the large amount of help and support from my music teacher, I started recording songs and putting them out there! Why did you choose the name Questionable Dog as your moniker? I chose the name because when I first thought of it it seemed like a joke. I think the name Questionable Dog matches both who I am and the music I make. What’s the best part about being a musician in Boston? I guess the best part of making music in Boston is the fact that there’s no serious pressure on you with whatever you do. You have the opportunity to do anything and find a place where you fit. Why do you practice art in Boston as opposed to other cities? I’ve been in Massachusetts and around Boston all my life, and I don’t think I’ll be leaving anytime soon. How does the city inspire you? The city is a really big factor in my work in a lot of ways. I live only a couple of miles away from Boston and the constant rush of all of the people around me provides me with so much inspiration. I’d say my inspiration comes from the people in the city rather than just the city itself. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Wait until you’re in private to pick your nose.
Where is the best place to eat in Boston? I can’t really think of THE single best place to eat but any Brazilian barbecue place in general is a good time for me. What’s the best thing you’ve seen come out of the growing art scene in Boston? The community around the art scene, especially for younger people, is extremely beneficial and allows for resources to be accessed. Do you have any upcoming projects? As of right now, I’m recording and writing a few songs for an upcoming album.
@coolgabi http://questionabledog. bandcamp.com/ Photos by Sienna Kwami
Do you think that Boston has an art community? I think Boston does have a small art community! It’s really great to see a group of artists in Boston create something amazing. However, I think that the issues among the art community come down to how many people participate and sign up. The fact that there are not that many artistic outlets and that not many people are participating in those that are available can be frustrating. Where are the best places to go in the city? Sitting around the Baton Harbor is something that I’ve found myself doing a lot lately. It’s a great way to take in the city and all of its glory. What’s the most challenging part of being an artist in Boston? It would have to be the fact that there are not immediate outlets. There are no studios or open art spaces for people like me to just go and express themselves.
What name do you go by? Eva Westphal How old are you? 15 What part of the city/state are you from? I’m from Back Bay! How would you describe what you do? I would describe myself as a singer and songwriter! Basically, I love writing as much as I love singing, and creating my own songs (instead of singing other people’s) is my chosen form of expression. What's the best part of being a musician in Boston? I’d say the best part of being a musician in Boston is getting to reach out to pretty big festivals and venues and having them reply to you -- I think because I’m a local musician, as well as a young one, I kind of catch people’s attention, which is super lucky for me! There’s a lot of Boston pride, which is great. Also, the music scene is relatively small, especially compared to New York City, so I feel comfortable learning and growing in a place where my voice is heard instead of drowned out by more experienced musicians. How does the city inspire you? Most of the time, when I get in that songwrite-y mood, I think of Boston and it just serves as great inspiration. The concept of a smaller city like
Boston is actually really cool to write any type of song about, because you could go for a simple, catchy song about city lights or night life, or you could go for a song about feeling smaller compared to things that are considered bigger or more important (like Boston compared to NYC)... honestly, Boston’s a great topic to write about. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given? This is kind of weird but I think that the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given has actually been some lyrics from Billy Joel’s “Vienna”. There’s a part of the song where he says “Slow down, you're doing fine, you can't be everything you want to be before your time”, and that really resonated with me because I can get kind of obsessed with trying to reach my goals in the fastest way possible. So whenever I need to remember that I’m fine, and that everything will be ok if I give it time, I think of that lyric. Where is the best place to eat in Boston? I love Sofa Café on Newbury! Not a lot of people go, so it’s not crowded and they have couches where you can kind of decompress - it’s a great spot. Oh, and my true love is Wagamama’s in the Prudential Center, but it can get a little expensive so I only go there if I want to treat myself. What attracted you to your art form?
I used to be a horrible singer when I was maybe 8 or 9, but I sang 24/7 anyways. I also loved to write poetry, and I told my parents that when I grew up, I really wanted to be a poet! Eventually, I grew into my voice and by my 13th birthday, my parents gave me the most amazing present ever: my first guitar. I had begged and begged for it for practically a whole year. I learned guitar right away, and suddenly realized that I could combine my love for writing and my love for singing by writing my own songs! So I guess I’ve always been attracted to music and to writing, but it took some steps to realize I could combine the two. Why do you practice art in Boston as opposed to other cities? I live here, so I don’t really have another choice. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being based in Boston! But yeah, it’s basically just because I live here -- I hope that after I graduate high school, I can take a gap year and be based out of either Nashville or LA for a little, and then go to New York for college and continue making music there! What's the best thing you've seen come out of the growing art scene in Boston? Honestly, I think Things is probably the best thing I’ve seen come out of the Boston art scene. It’s such a unique magazine that lets young artists get some more exposure! I’ve fallen in love with some other artists’ work through reading Things! Do you have any upcoming projects? Yes, I do! I’m hoping to record an EP this fall and release it on iTunes. I’m also in the process of booking radio and live shows in the Boston area. Do you think that Boston has an art community? Definitely! I’d say because of Berklee there’s a pretty big young adult music community, and Things has really helped build a younger art community as well. What are the best places to go in the city? I love sitting on the benches on Comm. Ave and walking around the public gardens! I also like the financial district and downtown crossing - the vibe is more NYC around there.
What's the most challenging part of being an artist in Boston? I think that the hardest part of being a musician in Boston is expanding your listener base beyond Boston. I’d love to reach the ears of people in NYC and LA, but I think that the Boston music scene is a little bit isolated.
evawestphal.com @evawestphal Photos by Sienna Kwami
"Boston has a lot of character, and I think people are quick to dismiss it... you have to dig deep to find your inspiration here. If you don’t put effort into it, you’re not going to find your "sources of inspiration."
What name do you go by? Lauren O’Neil How old are you? 24 What part of the city/state are you from? Cambridge, MA How would you describe what you do? I'm a full time designer for EF Education First & I freelance on the side doing a lot of lifestyle photography and some design. What's the best part of being a photographer in Boston? Boston is a small city, so it’s easy to meet a lot of other creative people. Sometimes I wish I were living in a larger city to find more inspiration, but then it would be harder to meet other creatives and it would be overwhelming. But even though Boston is small and I think I’ve explored every neighborhood, I’m always finding new places and spaces. It’s just a matter of refreshing your perspective every now and then. How does the city inspire you? There’s a lot of history here. But recently I’ve seen the scope of the city change. It’s becoming more involved in the arts. There’s a lot of authentic, original people who are just trying to do something creative. And that’s what inspires me. Honest people who are just interested in creating art for
arts sake. Boston has a lot of character, and I think people are quick to dismiss it. It deserves a chance because when it’s given a chance, more and more people stick around instead of moving onto another city. You have to dig deep to find your inspiration here. If you don’t put effort into it, you’re not going to find your sources of inspiration. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given? Don’t ever think you know everything, and don’t take yourself too seriously. Where is the best place to eat in Boston? Definitely can't decide on just one spot. I love Allstar Sandwich Bar in Cambridge, Sweet Ginger in Union Square, Thelonious Monkfish in Central, Brick & Mortrar in Central, there are just too many.. What attracted you to your art form? Geometric natural spaces, minimalist & clean palettes. Untouched and old, overgrown urban environments. Basically just overlooked spaces in general we see everyday in our lives. Why do you practice art in Boston as opposed to other cities? This is where I am for now. I went to school here and I’ve been living here since I’ve graduated. When I find I want to try something else I think I’ll know it. But for now I’m happy here. What's the best thing you've seen come out of the growing art scene in Boston? The ability to easily meet other people who are interested in the creative scene. Instagram has allowed for this to become possible. Do you think that Boston has an art community? Definitely, but like I said before, you’re not going to find it from skimming the surface. You have to dig and meet people in order to find those who share similar interests.
Cambridge/Somerville What's the most challenging part of being an artist in Boston? The art community is limited, but it’s growing. I think as an artist in general, it’s hard to find out who you are creatively, and that takes time to develop. When the art community is small and you’re working with yourself, it might be hard to be inspired. But there is so much information available at your fingertips to read up on. Never stop learning and researching. What is it about photographing people that interests or appeals to you? I’m interested in people who have a unique and original look. I like to photograph people just as they are, in their most natural form. When you allow a person to express themselves, you capture them in their most vulnerable state. And it’s refreshing. If it’s too contrived, it’s too tryhard and inauthentic. Do you think taking the time to explore and photograph parts of your city has given you a better appreciation for it? Absolutely. It makes me want to keep giving Boston a chance. Do you have any upcoming projects? I just wrapped up a shoot at the American Field event for the Design & Innovation building, and I have a few lifestyle shoots in the next few weeks.
@lauoneil lauoneil.com Photos by Lauren O'Neil
What are the best places to go in the city?
What name do you go by? Mithsuca!
at Tasty burger because I'm addicted to fast food on the low.
How old are you? 16
What attracted you to your art form? I've always drawn, since I was really young, it isn't until I started getting into the art world that I realized my art can be placed in so many contexts. Once I realized that I can be the spark of conversation -- politics, social justice, gender vs. sexuality -- a passion for expression sparked in my heart. My mind converts all my emotions and thoughts into visuals, so what I have to say is easier to show. Like I have this synesthetic creating process that makes my pieces more than just pretty images (my art ain't even pretty, it's weird af).
What part of the state are you from? I'm from Revere, Massachusetts How would you describe what you do? I make creative content ! The reason I say creative content instead of just art is because my work mixes a lot of different factors. I dabble in a lot of different mediums as a form of expression. What's the best part of being an artist in Boston? The coziness of the environment. I feel like I have a comfortable relationship with Boston, I don't feel lost and it's easy to meet a lot of people with a little digging. Especially as an artist, you don't feel swallowed up by the city (maybe if you're new to the city) coming here all the time for art seems like a natural part of my routine. How does the city inspire you? Just how communities, specifically art ones, come together for the same purpose. It's the solidarity amongst art makers and people who are pro-creativity that makes the city the most beautiful. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given? To remind myself that moments where I feel helpless are only temporary. Where is the best place to eat in Boston? Ummm I eat anywhere and think it's poppin, mainly because I love food. I mean I always eat
Why do you practice art in Boston as opposed to other cities? Because Boston is where I am, it's the closest to me. I'm not mad about it at all. Being able to have a voice in your community is the best opportunity one could ever have. Although the Boston area isn't explicit with its art scene as some other cities, sometimes the search and the exploration is the fun part. There's always more to unfold, more to see. What's the best thing you've seen come out of the growing art scene in Boston? More teens getting involved with the arts definitely. Like watching other teens grab ahold of their creativity and use it to build their own path. Sometimes you can't always wait for opportunities to come your way. I love being able to see the different ways in which teens are making a name for themselves, standing by their work and their beliefs. And I love how fucking cool peoples ideas are, like people are really mixing art styles in so many ways and
being innovative as hell. I recently went a Boston Hassle show where Mike Sim (who is amazing btw) made his own soundtrack to twin peaks and I left that venue SHOOK! It was so good it was a mixture of experimental music and manipulated film footage. That's how I'm tryna be ya know, just trying whatever I can and trying out different narratives through different ways. Do you have any upcoming projects? I'm collecting my thoughts and thinking of maybe creating a concept as well as pieces for a solo exhibition! It will be entirely focused on a subject that I hold near and dear to my heart. Do you think that Boston has an art community? Absolutely!!!!! Without a doubt. Boston doesn't get enough hype like it deserves to be highlighted as a place where creativity is. Boston has such inspirational and innovative young people in it who are really trying to make their mark. We are living proof that age doesn't define your capabilities. What are the best places to go in the city? I know Cambridge ain't 'Boston Boston' but central square is POPPIN! Like I said I food is my ride or die. Central is full of both food and art stores so....I'm satisfied. What's the most challenging part of being an artist in Boston? I know earlier I mentioned how searching for art connections can be interesting and fun, but it can also be real tough. Tough mainly because sometimes you don't know where to start. It has given me the fire to look for people who want to listen and hear my vision, but finding that scene. Especially when you're a teen, connection searching can be hard when balancing school and life. I'm from Revere so thatâ€™s a lil bit of an MBTA trip. But like I said it's not all bad, it's definitely made me more motivated to keep looking and contribute my voice to the art community here.
@foxyfries Photos by Sienna Kwami
What name do you go by? Ruthie Block How old are you? 16 What part of the state or city are you from? Just outside of Boston, in Concord, MA. How would you describe what you do? I make digital portraits of women and femmes of color. What attracted you to your art form? I first got into it because my parents already had the software and used it when I was younger, so I started using it and stuck with it. How would you say your upbringing contributed to or led to where you are in terms of your art? My parents introduced me to it. My mom was really into sketching but never pursued it, so I kind of picked it up. On the other hand, being in a secluded community made it difficult for me to find a similar community to connect with, but as I said, being introduced to this group in Boston made things easier for me. What’s the best part about being an artist in Boston? I personally was able to find a really awesome community through you guys [Things Magazine] of local artists with similar artists and it made me feel really comfortable.
Do you think that Boston has an art community? I think it definitely does. I know that I wasn’t that aware of it until your lovely founder, Sienna, introduced me to it and all of you guys, but within my age group, I definitely think there is. What’s the most challenging part of being an artist in Boston? I think a really hard part of it for me is being outside of Boston because I’m near it but kind of secluded from it in this sort of gated community. So for me, it’s being so close to something so awesome but having limited access to it. Where is the best place to eat in Boston? China Pearl in Chinatown! The Chinese food is very good, the decor is fantastic, and it’s really big so it’s great to go in large groups. What’s the best thing you’ve seen come out of the growing art scene in Boston? Can I pick a person? I’m gonna give a shout out and say Mithsuca Berry aka @foxyfries......star artist extraordinaire!” Where are the best places to go in the city? The little area next to HMart and the Cambridge Elks Lodge is really cute! They always have little black markets going on which is really cool. Plus, it’s a great way to support your local artists!
Why do you practice art in Boston as opposed to other cities? It’s where I live...does that count as a valid answer?”
Do you have any upcoming projects? At the moment, I’m working for Crybaby Zine, so I’ve just been doing work with them, as well as with a cool new blog called Black Girl Magik.
How does the city inspire you? I think one really inspiring thing is that there’s always little undiscovered treasures that you can stumble across that keep you involved and inspired.
Find Ruthie @hurricane.ma on Instagram to view her work. Photo by Sienna Kwami
What name do you go by? Tyler Kpakpo How old are you? 22 What part of the city/state are you from? I have lived in many parts of the state over the course of my life, but currently I stay in Dorchester, MA. How would you describe what you do? I would describe myself as a creative who’s always trying to tell a story. When you look at my photos, I want the viewer to feel some type of emotion. That’s what I look to feel in the work of others as well. Aside from photography, I have picked up an interest in mixing music. Although I do not produce original content, I curate mixes. Growing up playing the saxophone, piano, and guitar allowed me to develop an ear for certain sounds. I try to make my mixes complete bodies of work that take the listener on a ride. I currently post my mixes on my SoundCloud, Crownvibes. What's the best part of being a photographer in Boston? The city becomes your playground. I spent last summer working as a bike courier, so I know these streets pretty well. How does the city inspire you? I am constantly meeting people passionate about their craft. Knowing there are so many talented individuals near by only pushes me further to better myself.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given? In life there are things we can and cannot control. It’s our job to recognize the difference between the two and change the things we can. Where is the best place to eat in Boston? WAN’S Deli in Allston… Now I’m hungry! What attracted you to your art form? I had a Tumblr account. All of the pictures I saw fit into a certain aesthetic and it seemed pretty simple to replicate. I started with film because it was cheaper at the time than a DSLR. I took pictures of everything trying to mimic that Tumblr vibe. Over time I found out how challenging it can become and started to develop an eye for what I liked and stopped trying to imitate what others were doing. I stopped taking as many street photography pictures and focused mainly on portraits. I became patient with film working on my shot selection. The feeling of getting a film negatives back is unlike anything else. Why do you practice art in Boston as opposed to other cities? I am currently in school here. I am in my 5th year of studying pharmacy at MCPHS University. What's the best thing you've seen come out of the growing art scene in Boston? The popularity of IRL meetups. Whenever I mention to people in other areas about how often I attend them, they think I’m crazy. But it really speaks to Boston’s willing to network and meet new people and share in our love for art. We are a lot nicer here than our reputation across the country speaks of.
Do you have any upcoming projects? I constantly have ideas running through my head. However I am also currently finishing up my last semester of classes, so that's where all my time is going these days. But one concept I am looking forward to working on soon involves the female body and fruit. I don't have a specific direction, and I am sure it has been done plenty of times before but I want to put my own spin on it by incorporating some innuendos and maybe even having a contextual narrative to accompany the photos. It will be wacky and lit! Do you think that Boston has an art community? I think Boston has a developing art community. I have seen those with the most potential often leave the city for others, mainly New York or Los Angeles. Thus far I have always known Boston as a town of history, education, sports, and religion. But with the outlets such as Things Mag growing at the rate that it is, it's a step in a positive direction to change that.
to edit my photo whether via iPhone or through their film presets via Lightroom. And no I am not getting paid to say that. HAHA Their platform is clean and allows for me to display a large quantity of work. I use it for my portfolio at the moment to display both separate photos as well as series that I have worked on. I post my work at tylerkpakpo.vsco.co I like Instagram as well. In my opinion, it’s one of most accessible platform at the moment. Aside from people using it to interact with their friends, or photographers developing a following, many established companies and start-up brands alike are realizing its cultural impact and have been doing a lot of marketing though it. I prefer bringing my brand to multiple platforms to reach a wider audience. How do the people you photograph influence or inspire you? The remind me why I do any of this. The bond you develop over time with people while doing what you love is priceless.
What are the best places to go in the city? Union Square Donuts and Shake Shack, because who doesn’t love donuts and burgers. Thrift stores always have hidden gems. That’s where I bought my first film camera. Parking garages always have the best views, and it's always fun sneaking around trying not to get caught. Also any tourist area because i love people watching, and people are ridiculous. What's the most challenging part of being an artist in Boston? Over time the city has started to feel sort of small. A lot of photographers are using the same locations. Occasionally you will even see people with similar aesthetics. I am always trying to push myself to the limit, so that I outdo myself. I want someone to look at my work and think, “damn, how come I didn't think of that.” When sharing your photography, do you prefer Instagram or VSCO, or do you like both formats respectively? Both! I am very invested in VSCO. I use it solely
@crownfotos Photos by Tyler Tyler by Dana Nguyen 83
What name do you go by? Ishrat Qureshi How old are you? 18 What part of the city are you from? Boston/Roxbury Massachusetts resident. Born in New York, Queens Spend my childhood and preteens in a shit tona places. How would you describe what you do? I'm an artist! I feel, I love, I break, I live and I create. (though my current medium right now is painting but i’m in the process of expanding) What's the best part of being a teen in Boston? Being a teen in Boston is so fun! I have lived in many places; i have moved a total of 12 times in my life since the moment Ii was born, and have attended 7 different schools, and what distinguishes the other places from Boston is that I have lived here the longest, and know my way around here better than anywhere else, one reason being that Boston is so small, it easy to name places know where to go even if the location is new, you can never get completely lost, and if you feel like you haven’t see your elementary school friends in years, you see them the next day on the MBTA or at the library. Boston is a house within Massachusetts and the rest feels like the outside.
How does the city inspire you? After coming here I had more academic opportunities in a few months than in anywhere else I have lived in, I was very quick to learning things I hadn't learned, not just math and english, but the world, the environment,and just basically
the word that we live in. Also, everywhere you go there is just so much energy, color, diversity. You could experience a world from just one short bus or train ride on the MBTA, there is a beauty in that. Local artists! There are SO many of them here it’s impossible for a fellow artist to not get excited, create and be inspired. The galleries in Boston are the cutest and most fun, and there are A LOT of them.The ICA and MFA are always filled with things that put you in awe, and a short train ride in the Orange Line or Red Line to downtown which is a 2 minutes walk away from chinatown will keep your mouth watering with the various types of food. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given? Gah, this is hard, have I ever given good advice? I don’t know, good advice is usually good when it helps someone. As a friend to many people, and a constant “silently-looking-out-into-space” thinker, I find myself giving a lot of advice and getting many in return too, because I think a lot on life. My future, my past actions, and how I can better myself. My best advice could be telling people to try my mom’s curry to be honest. But I always do find telling myself something's on a daily; Don’t let anyone to tell you to be silent, you have a voice, you are significant. You are your own person, no one owns you, make your own path You are 1/8, 1/7, 1/6, 1/2, or even 98.999% into your life, do what makes you feel good. Loving yourself is not selfish. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. Your emotions, your reaction to things are not wrong, it is psychologically human, but remember so are others, spread love don't get mad, but it is ok if you do, just be smart about how you react,
Ahmar Nam Eva By Ishrat Qureshi 36”x 24” Acrylic on board 86
but it is also ok if you don’t, we grow, we will learn. Where is the best place to eat in Boston? Gah, hard question again, i eat a lot, and have eaten many places in Boston it always depends on what I’m feeling. I eat a lot of asian food so I find myself in Chinatown a lot for, dim sum , sushi, boba, malaysian food (Penang!!!), thai food. You can walk around and find a bunch of places to eat just try anywhere, i generally find myself at Dong Khanh restaurant for boba drink or a quick bowl of pho, and Crave Mad For Chicken which has pretty good korean food and pretty good chicken. Sometimes I go to Cambridge for some belgium waffles at Zinneken’s or Japanese/Korean BBQ at Gyu Kaku. There are so many more places oh my gosh. You just gotta walk around to find some good and cool places hiding in the corner. What attracted you to your art form? For the longest times i didn't really have that many resources for art or know much about art except for what it made me feel, I only started recently painting last year and it was all thanks to the place i currently work at. My mentor is one of the most inspiring and kindest human beings I have ever met, and was the one to help me fall in love with art even more than I already had. He helped me open my mind up to possibilities and mediums i didn’t even know that were possible or even doable. Why do you practice art in Boston as opposed to other cities? The great art community!! Oh my gosh and it’s cool one at that, the work place I currently am at, which is called Artists for Humanity opened a door for me to that community. Working over there is privilege; I am just being paid to have a creative outlet and do the very thing that makes me happy, and the very thing for the longest time I thought was a hobby and could never be job.
What's the best thing you've seen come out of the growing art scene in Boston? The many beautiful projects around the city. Also the influence it is having on the youth is amazing! Do you have any upcoming projects? I currently am working on a painting of my mom and I, it is a part of a series about the women in my family, consisting of my mom, my half sister, my neice and I. Both of the older women products of absent husbands, and the younger one of us the products of absent fathers. But the overall series is not supposed to show much of that, but more of how our strength, and love for each other makes it as though nothing is missing. After I finish the painting of my mom and I, I might hold it off, because I am also planning a collaboration with my friend. Do you think that Boston has an art community? YES. There are many other communities but, YES. What are the best places to go in the city? Honestly so many, but the best part of finding the best places is discovering them yourselves, just search thing online, go to some spot, walk around! What's the most challenging part of being an artist in Boston? I am new to the art scene, I started discovering it last year, so i wouldn't know too much yet, but for now I guess exposure? I mean there isn't much of me to expose yet but, I do still have some work I want to sell. But a challenge for me currently is being a teen and balancing my school with art. I can never do one without the other, but would be fine without one of em. Stay in though children, you are just hearing a stressed out junior speaking.
@unicornbollocks Photos by Sienna Kwami 87
Jan Simonds' illustrations are an exploitative view of today's subcultures in art and music. His characters are succinct, abstract representations of locals that can be seen at any show from Cambridge to Jamaica Plain. When Simonds was introduced to Boston's music scene he identified with the unique nature of the venues, people, and music. His favorite local musicians are 'Blood Club' and 'Free Pizza.' 89
An interview by Alllie Miller Photos courtesey of Ben Stas (photos.yardhawk.net)
A: What is your name? PP: Samantha Martisian A: Who is in the band? PP: Samantha (Sami) Martisian -vocals/guitar Christine Varriale - Drums Ben Styer - Bass They couldn’t come today because they have work. A: Oh it’s totally fine! So it (Puppy Problems) is like a trio? PP: Yeah. A: How did you guys meet, or were you friends before forming the band? PP: Yeah! Christine and I worked at Allston Pudding for like 3 years and been like best pals. And Ben is my boyfriend, so like, convenient. A: Cool! Do you like playing with him? PP: Yeah! Its awesome! And he's like an amazing musician in his own right. Like he writes like amazing songs so it's really cool to be able to work with him on his stuff and my stuff. A: That's so cool! Is it a good dynamic to be dating at the same time? Does that help (the process)? PP: I think it helps some people, and like.. I know some people who have done it and it’s been like a disaster, but I mean like we live together and do most things together. ANd because Christine and I are so close it's like we all know each other pretty well and it's been awesome so far. It also makes it like easier to do band practice. A: Yeah I bet! You are already all together. PP: Yeah, we (Ben and Sami) live together. And then Christine also lives elsewhere in Allston. A: How did you guys get involved with Allston Pudding? PP: Christine’s been doing it for like a really, really long time. I started as like a staff writer I think three years ago just because they put out a call for like new writers and I like miraculously got in. But yeah, B en doesn’t do it but it’s been awesome, you should do it!
A: I actually really want to. It’s really cool, and I read the website and everything. PP: Aw, that’s awesome. That’s so cool to hear. A: So, is that what inspired you guys (to start Puppy Problems?) or were any of you already musicians? PP: Yeah, I've been doing music for Puppy Problems as a solo project for a few years now, and then Christine took up drumming like less than a year ago. Our friend taught her how to drum, he’s the drummer for The Frights. A: No way, he went to BU! PP: Yeah, that’s right! And so before he like left he was like “alright Christine I’m finally going to teach you how to drum.” And she took off with it, she’s so amazing that she learned it really quickly and she like wanted to move her drum kit into my basement, and I was like “Oh, dude we can jam, and then, just because Christine is just a more well-connected person than I am, she was like “oh yeah my friend works at Q Division wants to record us together”, and we like, had to come up with a song to record together before we really like [had] a band. A: You had a session before you had any songs? PP: It was like songs she had heard a thousand times, because she always just used to go to Puppy Problems shows, but she's also just like such a supportive friend...that she just knew all the songs….. and she's was like you know my friend she had another friend who was like moving out of Boston and wanted to record us for free, so we had to like scramble to do that, and then we were just like a band after that. A: What is Q Division Studios? PP: Q Division is a studio in Somerville, it’s where The Pixies recorded Surfer Rosa and most importantly where Fountains of Wayne recorded Stacy’s Mom. A: That’s so funny! PP: We only recorded one song there but it's really cool.
A: Where do you record now? PP: We’re actually currently recording with my friend Ethan, who I walked in here with, in his basement in Allston, but it's a really, really nice set up – it’s like freakishly professional for a basement they have like an amazing mixer and all of these different instruments that we can use. It almost feels as professional as Q Division. His friend Dave works with us to. I don’t think they have a name for their studio right now, but they’re going to be recording other bands. A: Do you know the other bands that record there? PP: They’re recording with Drug Dogs right now, from Allston. I’m pretty sure they’ve recorded like Fat History Month and stuff like that also. A: How would you describe what you do or your style of music? PP: We are pretty, like, stripped down indie
rock; like the bands that I think would be the most comparable stylistically would be like The Silver Jews or The Microphones. Not that I would consider us on their level or anything like that. It's like pretty simply structured music that's focused on the lyrics. A: Yeah I definitely get that when I listen to your music. I really like the song that's like “Santa Claus can choke on a dick” (laughs). PP: Haha, oh yeah? A: That’s a really good one. So The Silver Jews and The Microphones are like your peers or your influences? PP: Definitely influences. The Silver Jews are a band from the 90’s, Stephen Malkmus from Pavement played guitar in them for a while, and it’s mostly this guy David Burman’s project, he’s like a poet and an amazing lyricist. They are really like funny and sad at the same. They have always been a big inspiration for me because David
Burman as a guitar player kind of like, I don’t consider myself like this very eloquent guitar player, and he’s kind of like the same way. I think we know the same five chords maybe? But I mean the things that he can do with that limited guitar knowledge is super amazing. Not that I want to say he’s a bad guitarist or anything. A: Of course not. You mentioned The Silver Jews’ having these like funny and sad lyrics and I definitely think that you guys have that in your songs, like you have the Santa Claus song but you also have these songs like Practice Kissing which are different and more serious but are also really cool. Is it hard to find a balance between these things? Or does one of them, writing funny lyrics or writing sad lyrics, come easier? PP: I feel like, for me, I kind of need both of them together. If I try to write a song that’s like really, really serious than it’s too easy for me to feel like it’s contrived or dramatic in a way that I don’t feel is representing what I’m trying to be. I don’t want our music to feel like a pity party or some sort of self-indulgent thing. I changed the name to Puppy Problems because I had like a different project which is, like silly to end a band if you are the only person in the band, but I was like “Oh, I’m quitting music I’m not doing this anymore.” And part of the reason was because people were like calling me “cute” or I felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously enough, and I wanted to be like, as a young person, a serious musician. And then [with] Puppy Problems, I started playing music again with this feeling that like I don’t have to take myself so seriously to talk about these things, and that humor is kind of a part of that. It’s why we have a name that’s like cutesy and sad at the same time. A: Why do you think you weren’t being taken seriously? PP: I think things are a lot better now, but when I first moved to Boston like 5 years ago, playing shows was like I was always the “quiet girl” opener and people would just be like “oh, have you heard of Frankie Cosmos?” or whatever like comparing me to one other woman they could think of with a guitar. And like I’ve had other people write about our music and like call me
cute or accuse me of having like “daddy issues” and it didn’t feel like people were paying attention to what I was saying, but more like the body in which I’m saying things. Which was really discouraging for a while, because it didn’t feel like I could be anything other than, like, “girl opener.” A: Yeah, I know a lot of female musicians experience things similar to what you were saying, such as critics focusing on their gender rather than the actual music. Do you think Boston has progressed from this problem, or do you think the difference comes from just starting the new project (as “Puppy Problems”)? PP: I think that Boston has definitely changed a lot, just in the time that I’ve been here. As a musician and also as like a music journalist I’ve seen that. The conversations that we’ve been having at Allston Pudding, about making sure we are being more inclusive, but like making sure that we are treating female musicians, and non-male musicians of all kinds more fairly, and that the way we are talking about women in music, not that we haven’t talked about it. I’m sure you’ve seen those articles where they talk about a male musician the way that people talk about female musicians, like “he walked up to the microphone and flipped his hair.” We’re making sure that we’re not only including women and people of color, and non-binary musicians, but also making sure that we’re learning to rethink the language of how we approach these musicians. I also feel like I’m playing with more women. My best friend is in this band called Palehound which is doing super, super well. There’s also like bands such as Speedy Ortiz to look up to, and bands like Birthing Hips, which are just so incredibly inspiring and bold. I feel like I’m not as often the only woman playing a show, I’m seeing more women in bands, not just like fronting them but also as backing musicians. I’m seeing more male musicians not excluding women just because they’re women, but rather being excited to play with them. But that being said there’s still a lot of assholes out there, and there’s still a lot of women who book like one female act per show. There’s a lot of progress that still needs to happen, but I definitely think it’s getting better.
see you on the flip side 96